Wednesday, June 24, 2020

So Many Feasts--Nativity of John the Baptist

The time after Pentecost is punctuated with many feasts--Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi, Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. John the Baptist, Sts. Peter and Paul, the Assumption of Mary, Christ the King, All Saints, All Holy Souls in Purgatory, and so many more...and I'm missing the wonderful High Masses that would be scheduled for some of these Feast Days. I miss choir practice. This week was to be our chant workshop in Tampa, FL with daily Masses sung, but here I am...wanting more, wanting everything.  

Our pastor gave a beautiful homily for Trinity Sunday, reminding us how God creates, unites, renews. His very nature is love and mercy. It's relational. What does the devil do? He's not made a single thing. He only damages, divides and destroys all that is good. The spirit of evil has taken hold in our country--we're acting as if everybody has the covid, we're acting as if everybody is racist, we're acting as if we can solve problems through govt. programs. No. As Alexandr Solzhenitsyn said, "The line separating good and evil passes...right through every human heart..."

I don't want everything to go back to the way it used to be, rather, I want a revival--a Christian revival. I don't want us to be driven by fear but by love. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We're either with Him or against Him--there's no sitting on the fence. 

I read this beautiful and powerful letter Ap. Vigano wrote to President Trump and agree that we are seeing the eternal battle between good and evil playing out right now. 

We need God to save us. Scripture continually reminds us to obey God's laws or else feel His righteous and divine wrath. I know. I'm a witness. I've lived a life of sin, and I deserve death, but the moment I turned away from sin and toward Him, God showered His tender mercies on me and gave me new life. And so I say, turn to Jesus! Give Him your life and He will give you a new and everlasting life in Him. I'm not very eloquent so I share instead the prayers in honor of St. John the Baptist because he prepared the way for our Lord preaching a baptism of repentance. 

 "His name is John". Pontormo, on a desco da parto, c. 1526.
The prayers are in three parts, commemorating his decision to live a life of penance, his preaching to prepare the way of the Lord, and his martyrdom. He is a prophet for all time.

V. O glorious St. John the Baptist,
R. Greatest prophet among those born of woman, * although thou wast sanctified in thy mother’s womb * and didst live a most innocent life, * nevertheless it was thy will to retire into the wilderness, * there to devote thyself to the practice of austerity and penance; * obtain for us of thy Lord the grace to be wholly detached, * at least in our hearts, * from earthly goods, * and to practice Christian mortification with interior recollection * and with the spirit of holy prayer.
V. St. John the Baptist, precursor of Christ, R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, shining lamp of the world, R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, angel of purity before thy birth, R. Pray for us. 

V. O most zealous Apostle,
R. Who, without working any miracle on others, * but solely by the example of thy life of penance * and the power of thy word, * didst draw after thee the multitudes, * in order to dispose them to receive the Messias worthily * and to listen to His heavenly doctrine; * grant that it may be given unto us, * by means of the example of a holy life * and the exercise of every good work, * to bring many souls to God, * but above all * those souls that are enveloped in the darkness of error and ignorance * and that are led astray by vice.
V. St. John the Baptist, intrepid preacher of truth, R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, voice crying in the wilderness, R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, miracle of mortification and penance, R. Pray for us. 

MURILLO, Bartolomé Esteban (1667-70). 
Even now, return to Me with your whole heart. ~ Joel 2:12
V. O Martyr invincible,
R. Who, for the honor of God and the salvation of souls, * didst with firmness and constancy * withstand the impiety of Herod * even at the cost of thine own life, * and didst rebuke him openly * for his wicked and dissolute life; * by thy prayers obtain for us a heart, * brave and generous, * in order that we may overcome all human respect * and openly profess our faith * in loyal obedience to the teachings of Jesus (☨) Christ, * our divine Master.
V. St. John the Baptist, example of profound humility, R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, great defender of holy matrimony, R. Pray for us.
V. St. John the Baptist, glorious martyr of zeal for God’s holy law, R. Pray for us.

V. O God, we rejoice at the apostolate of Saint John the Baptist, through whom we came to know our Redeemer and King. Through his intercession we implore... (Name Your Request) V. We offer this prayer to Thee (☨) God the Father, through Christ Our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God forever and ever. R. Amen.

Conclude with an Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
V. Pray for us, Saint John the Baptist
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ
Let us pray.
O God, who hast made this day to be honorable in our eyes by the commemoration of blessed John the Baptist, grant unto Thy people the grace of spiritual joy, and direct the minds of all Thy faithful into the way of everlasting salvation through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Mirka Breen said...

These are challenging times for choirs in particular. I have two friends who sing in choirs, and there is no substitute that is allowed right now and for the foreseeable future.

Barbara Etlin said...

My friend, a doctor, recently took place in a Zoom-type video made with other physicians in our city. About ten of them, in their individual squares, sang or played guitars to a popular song from the sixties. They did it for fun and to cheer up people during the pandemic. They were surprisingly talented and I really enjoyed the video.

My point is, it's not the same as singing in an actual choir, but it's an acceptable substitute in the meantime. These people worked together as a group, rehearsed, and organized making the video. For a shared activity with a shared purpose, it was effective.

Vijaya said...

Mirka, so true. I'm hoping we can still have a High Mass given our tiny schola--it's easy staying apart in the loft.

Barb, I've heard a couple of these zoom-put togethers--it's really heroic trying to get it all to work and it's so great if you enjoy it. Zoom hasn't been a good fit for me, maybe because it's too much like a phone? Not sure. I do watch youtube practice videos and sing my part and that's about it for me for now.

Carol Soisson said...

For someone who thinks they are not eloquent, I think you cover this very well. We return to Mass in our church tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.

Vijaya said...

Thank you Carol. But I must say that nothing can compare to the beautiful prayers. So happy you can hear Mass in church tomorrow. It's the highlight of my week!